Maintaining driving skills can be challenging for seniors. Senior drivers can remain safe on the road, but they should take care to maintain their driving skills. Normal aging may bring physical changes that require caution while on the road. Turning your head to search for oncoming traffic, judging distances, seeing well at night and braking safely are some of the tasks that may be more challenging.
An American Automobile Association Study found that the lowest rate of auto accidents for any age cluster was found in the 60 to 69-year-old group. The rate creeps up after that, but even drivers 80 years of age and older have accident rates much lower than teenagers!
Here are some suggestions for keeping your driving skills sharp well into your senior years.
- Schedule regular vision and hearing tests. The senses of hearing and vision can decline with age. Impaired hearing and common age-related vision problems (cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration) can seriously affect driving ability. Make sure your hearing and vision are up to the driving conditions. In Florida, drivers 80 years and older must pass a vision screening to renew licenses.
- Stay physically active. Physical activity can improve driver safety by making it easier to steer and perform other movements while driving and parking. Walking is a great choice for many people. Stretching and strength training exercises are also helpful for older drivers.
- Make a pledge to never use your cellphone while driving: do not talk, text or answer calls. The National Safety Council also advises against using hands-free and Bluetooth devices. It is best to turn it off! Starting July 1, Florida police will be allowed to stop and ticket drivers for texting while they are behind the wheel of a moving car.
- Drive when road conditions, and your condition is good. If visibility is poor or weather is bad, consider delaying your trip. Of course, never drive after drinking alcohol or using other substances that could impair you. This includes some drugs prescribed to you for medical use.
- Refresh your driving skills. Taking a refresher course for older drivers might even earn you a discount on your car insurance. Look for courses from sources like the AAA or AARP.
While we are on the subject of cars, if you are considering changing vehicles (new or used), Consumer Reports has some suggestions just for seniors. They give various vehicles a “Life Stage Score.” This considers things like ease of getting in and out, driver visibility and safety features. You can read it at “Best Cars for Savvy Seniors.”
Like all age groups, seniors, need dependable transportation. Keeping your car in top-running shape is a priority for all ages. Andre’s Auto Repair in Ormond Beach, Florida performs quality car repair and maintenance. It is a locally owned shop that truly believes in delivering customer satisfaction. Andre’s employs Certified ASE (automotive service excellence) Technicians, and best of all, Andre’s Automotive is one of the trusted and vetted members of the OurSeniors.net Approved Vendors Program. You can be assured that they are a senior-friendly business.